Skip to main content Skip to Navigation Skip to Footer

COVID-19 Guidelines for Recreational Water

Updated  April 7, 2021

Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. The COVID-19 Response Framework (colour-coded zones) is paused during this time. Find more details in the news release.

As of Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 am, we are in a Shutdown. The province-wide emergency break is expected to stay in place for at least four weeks. Find more details in the news release.


This document provides public health guidance for the re-opening of public pools, spas, splash pads, and wading pools in the Porcupine Health Unit area. Owners/operators must notify the Porcupine Health Unit of their intention to re-open their facility.

Safety Plans

The safety plan will:

  • Describe measures/procedures that have been or will be implemented in the business, place, facility, or establishment to reduce spread of COVID-19.
  • Be in writing and made available to any person for review on request.
  • Be posted in a visible place to come to the attention of those working at, or attending, the location.


How to perform staff screening:

  • Actively screen every person who works at the business or organization before they enter the premises. Use the Screening Tool for Workplaces.
  • Prevent staff from working if:
    • They show any signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 before, or during their shift;
    • They have come in close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or;
    • They have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days.
    • If staff experience symptoms of COVID-19 during their shift, they should return home, self-isolate and call the local Assessment Centre, their primary care provider or the Porcupine Health Unit at 1-800-461-1818.
  • Employers must ensure that their employees are aware of the benefits/pay available to them, should they need to self-isolate due to COVID-19.
  • In addition to the above requirements, consider updating your business policies for managing staff member absences and for backfilling shifts in case of absence.

How to perform customer screening:

  • Post signs at all entrances to the premises of the business or organization, in a conspicuous location visible to the public, that inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises.

Mask Requirements

Effective October 3, 2020, the Province updated the Ontario Regulation 364/20 that mandates the use of masks in all public indoor settings across Ontario which includes workplaces.

Transparent physical barriers can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, when used properly with other public health measures such as wearing a face covering, maintaining two (2) meters distance, frequent hand washing and proper cough/sneeze etiquette. A transparent physical barrier (i.e. plexiglass) does not replace the need for a face covering or mask.

A face covering or mask is required when:

  • Two (2) meters distance is not maintained between coworkers on the same side of the plexiglass OR opposite sides of the plexiglass;
  • A staff member is leaving their personal workspace; and
  • Staff is working in an indoor area that is accessible to the public.

Remember, transparent physical barriers must be cleaned and disinfected frequently.

Personal Protective Equipment, Including Eye Protection

  • The employer must determine what PPE is required and ensure that it is worn by workers.
  • Educate staff on the proper use and disposal of masks and PPE.
    • Gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene, as they do not guarantee that foods or surfaces are not contaminated. Gloves should always be worn when a staff member or volunteer handling food has a break in their skin or has a bandage that is covering a wound. In the event you should need to or choose to wear gloves:
    • Wash your hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you put on gloves.
    • Do not touch your face or mask with your gloves on.
    • Do not touch personal items, such as a cell phone, while wearing gloves. Throw the gloves out in a closed garbage bin right away after use and wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Do not re-use gloves that are made for one use
  • Protective eyewear is required if a worker needs to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering, and not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

Attendance Log and Reporting

  • Maintain an attendance log for employees, including start and end times of their shifts.
  • In the Yellow Zone and the Orange Zone, the person responsible for the facility must ensure that,
    • the name and contact information of every member of the public who enters an indoor area of the facility are recorded,
    • the records are maintained for a period of at least one month, and
    • the records are disclosed only to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request for a purpose specified in section 2 of that Act or as otherwise required by law.
  • In the Yellow Zone and the Orange Zone, no member of the public may enter the facility unless they have made a reservation to do so. In the case of members of the public participating in a team sport, only one reservation per team is required.

Physical Distancing and Line Management

  • Ensure physical distancing of at least 2 metres between staff and customers.
  • Establishments must take appropriate measures to ensure physical distancing of at least 2 meters between patrons from different tables, unless separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
  • Modify the layout and use signage to encourage one-way traffic flow and to ensure enough space is provided for staff and customers to maintain physical distancing.
  • Ensure enough space for people in high traffic areas and places where people may gather.
  • Identify areas where crowding and bottlenecks are common, such as lobbies, washrooms, and use staff or barriers to redirect people who may gather in these areas.
  • Monitor and manage lines within and outside the facility.
  • Post physical distancing signage at all entrances, service desks or other high visibility locations.
  • Place visual/textural markers spaced 2.6 metres apart (e.g., tape on the floor, pylons, signs) to encourage physical distancing and to guide customers.
  • Physical distancing must be maintained for people lined up outside of the establishment.
  • Encourage the use of masks/face coverings for customers waiting/lining-up outside (masks are mandatory indoors).
  • Assign staff to monitor lines and to make public announcements reminding customers to keep at least 2 metres apart.
  • Reconfigure break rooms/areas and eating areas for staff to physically distance.
  • Discourage staff from congregating during lunch and break times, where physical distancing of 2m/6ft cannot be maintained.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • All change rooms and showers will be available to the public, and operators must adequately clean and disinfect the facilities at a minimum twice per day and as needed.
  • Common cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. Hand sanitizers and environmental disinfectants must be disinfectants must be approved by Health Canada. These can be identified by having an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN) and must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Expired products must not be used and discarded appropriately.
  • In addition to routine cleaning, facilities should be assessed to identify all frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, doors, sink and toilet handles, light switches, deck furniture, and counter tops. This should also include frequently touched surfaces in staff-only areas, such as chemistry test kit, pump room levers, pens, tables, etc.
  • Damp cleaning methods, such as wet cloths and mops, should be used to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least two times a day, or more frequently if possible.
  • Surfaces that are in contact (such as underwater) with adequately treated pool water do not require enhanced disinfection. Sharing equipment, water toys, etc. is not recommended. In cases where equipment needs to be shared, proper cleaning and disinfection must occur between users.
  • Equipment and toys that are not smooth and easy-to-clean should be removed from use. This may include rope swings, fabric-based chair cushions, etc.
  • For more information on cleaning and disinfecting in public settings visit Public Health Ontario’s guidance document.

Pool Water Chemistry

Staff Training and Education

  • It is essential that all staff members receive training and education on all modified and new policies, procedures and practices prior to working directly with patrons and colleagues. Porcupine Health Unit recommends that employers pay close attention to ensuring that all staff working have current training on and are familiar with:
    • Active screening for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
    • Actions to take if they experience symptoms of illness
    • Proper use of approved cleaning and disinfecting products
    • Cleaning protocols to sanitize reusable items between uses
    • Procedures for environmental cleaning
    • How to properly wear and use masks and face coverings
    • How to properly use gloves, face shields and other personal protective equipment if required by the employer
    • Maintaining physical distance of at least 2 metres when possible.
    • Frequent handwashing using the correct technique, and to avoid touching face.

It is important to recognize that the COVID-19 situation is changing constantly.

Please visit our main webpage on COVID-19 to stay up-to-date on the latest information including signage, screening tools, and general information. To speak with a Public Health Inspector please contact 1-800-461-1818.

Additional Resources:

DIN-registered disinfectants approved by Health Canada

Public Health Ontario Guidelines on Cleaning and Disinfecting for Public Settings

Ontario Regulation 364/20